Michigan Republicans Decide to Oust Chair Kristina Karamo

During a Saturday meeting, Michigan Republicans voted to oust the state GOP Chair, Kristina Karamo, following widespread calls for her resignation. Approximately 88% of the 45 participants supported her removal. Bree Moeggenberg, a member of the state committee, played a role in organizing the special meeting through circulated petitions.

“We have made history today,” she wrote in a statement. “With over 88% of the members that were present and voting, we have taken the first step to engage and protect the various voices and liberties of all Republicans.”

Absent from the meeting, Karamo unequivocally stated she would not acknowledge the removal vote, contending that the gathering was unofficial and unlawfully arranged. This developing scenario may pave the way for a legal battle to determine leadership control within the Michigan GOP.

Karamo’s team, on Saturday night, declared her intention to take “swift and decisive action” to hold all participants in the “attempted coup” accountable as per the rules outlined in the Michigan Republican Party bylaws.

In a text message Saturday afternoon, Karamo said the meeting was “illegitimate.”

“Their performance has no legal standing,” Karamo said. “I am still chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

Amid efforts by Michigan Republicans to recover from significant losses in the 2022 midterms, an internal conflict unfolds. The party’s goals for the year include securing an open U.S. Senate seat and supporting the Republican presidential nominee to win the battleground state.

In February, grassroots activists elected Karamo and her co-chair, Malinda Pego, to lead the state party through the 2024 elections. However, less than a year later, Pego has joined a petition calling for a vote to remove Karamo.

Last week, eight of the 13 congressional district chairs in the state party urged Karamo to resign, citing financial instability due to inadequate fundraising and urging her to “end the chaos in our party” by stepping down.

Formal efforts to remove Karamo began in early December, with 39 state committee members signing a petition for a special meeting to consider the change.

For Karamo’s removal, opponents would need signatures from at least half of the state party’s nearly 100 committee members on Saturday. Originally requiring 75% approval, a passed amendment lowered the threshold to 60%, though it wasn’t necessary, according to Moeggenberg.

The state party faces the challenge of making swift progress to impact the 2024 election.

As of October, Karamo reports that the party is burdened with nearly $500,000 in debt, including a $110,000 obligation to actor Jim Caviezel for a speaking engagement. To settle these debts, Karamo and the party are pursuing legal action against the trust that owns their headquarters, aiming to sell the building.

This upheaval occurs just before the state party’s March 2 convention, where 39 of Michigan’s 55 Republican presidential delegates will be allocated. The remaining 16 delegates will be assigned based on the results of the Feb. 27 Republican primary.

In November, Republicans aim to secure a Senate seat in the state, a challenge they haven’t accomplished since 1994. Additionally, the party strives to overturn a narrow majority in the Michigan House, following Democrats winning control of the state House and Senate in 2022, while retaining the governor’s office for the first time in 40 years.